In September, I went to an LSU game with a few of my girlfriends. We thought it would be a great idea to wakeup early and throw back a few mimosas, since it was an afternoon game. But the alcohol and the heat made for a very unpleasant mix.
So I went home early, and was texting with Eddie while laying in my bed. He was on his way over, but was caught in traffic. Once he arrived, we fell asleep in my bed and awoke in time for dinner. He took me to Macaroni Grill, and afterward we went for coffee at Barnes & Noble.
We went to his house, watched Saturday night Live, and went to sleep. I felt so content, I remember sleeping well—on Eddie’s silky sheets. When we woke up the next morning, Eddie offered to make us breakfast. I slept while he milled about in the kitchen, mixing a recipe he was proud of—milk, eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon to make French toast.
After breakfast, Eddie wanted to go fishing. so we packed his car with the essentials: fishing rods, bait, tackle, and a cooler, with giant Reese’s cups inside. We drove nearly an hour out to a fishing spot Eddie liked. But once we arrived, he wasn’t too interested in fishing anymore.
He drove me home. It was a Sunday evening, and when he dropped me off, I was bummed. We had spent so much time together, I didn’t know what to do with myself when he wasn’t by my side. I went upstairs and attempted to do some schoolwork.
Not even two hours had passed before Eddie called me, said he missed me, and wanted to come over. I was glad. When he arrived back at my house, he had his shaving kit tucked under his arm.
“I was gonna let you give me a shave, since you said you wanted to,” he said.
He was right, I had never shaved a boyfriend’s face, and I wanted to give it a shot. I thought it was sweet that he remembered.
So we went into the bathroom I shared with my roommate and I lathered up his face, making him look like Santa Claus. Trying not to laugh, I shaved a few rows, before he insisted on doing it himself.
The next Saturday, I worked a shift at the mall, where I saw American Eagle was handing out flowers to all of the girls that went in the store. I had plans to go out with one of my sorority sisters that night. As I was getting ready, Eddie called me and said he wanted to see me. I told him I was home, but I already had plans to go out with a friend. He said he was on his way.
I mentioned the flowers at the mall, and he said they gave them out at our store, too.
“It would’ve been nice if you would’ve saved some for me,” I said.
“Oh yeah?” Then, he hung up on me.
Not two seconds later, I heard a knock on the door. It was Eddie. When I opened the door, he was holding four flowers, each stuck in their own sponge of water, from the store.
“Yaaayyy!” I said, I leapt into his arms and gave him a giant hug. We talked outside for a while, then I went back inside to finish getting ready.
The next week, Eddie was leaving for a hiking trip with his friends. As a treat, I bought him some camping-friendly snacks he could take on the trip with him. It was going to be the longest time we’d had apart—we weren’t even going to be able to talk by phone.
He got back into town four days later and had to go to a work meeting, although I was complaining about not being able to see him that night. He said he would stop by after the meeting, even though it was going to be late. When he arrived at my house, I was fast asleep. But his call woke me up and I answered the door in my pajamas.
He was holding a cupcake he’d saved for me, from the meeting.
We went into the kitchen where we shared the cupcake. Keeping the lights off, we moved back into the living room, where I sat on his lap in the recliner. I had really missed him.
* * *
In late September, Eddie was super excited to buy a pumpkin. So we got a few, and carved them, leaving the pieces in the pumpkin. We filled our pumpkins with firecrackers, letting the loose pieces reveal the pumpkin face after the minor explosion on Olive Street.
Carving pumpkins was the only thing I truly loved about Halloween, and I remembered carving pumpkins one day after school with my first boyfriend, in high school.
That night, we displayed our pumpkins on Eddie’s front porch, putting a candle in them for the few passersby.
Eddie was ready to meet my parents. We’d been seeing each other for two months, but it felt like a year. Since we both had fall breaks coming up with school, Eddie suggested we drive back to the midwest and meet everyone. I was ecstatic! I called my family and told them Eddie and I were making the drive.
The first week of October, I came down with a sore throat. At first, it felt like I was coming down with a typical cold. But then, after a day of class, I was in some serious pain. I went to work at A&F, complaining about my throat. My manager sent me to the coffee shop for some citrus tea. It didn’t help at all, and I said I was going home.
I went to bed that night, hoping to feel better in the morning. But I awoke in the middle of the night and couldn’t swallow my own spit. I slept for the remainder of the night with a towel on my pillow, so I wouldn’t choke.
The next day, I told Eddie I was sick. In attempts to make me feel better, he arrived at my house with a gallon of cookie dough ice cream and a pizza. It was sweet, but I physically felt awful.
In the morning, I drove myself to the campus health clinic. When I approached the counter, I had to hold my throat with both hands to speak. They didn’t believe I was sick. I begged them to take my temperature.
When the thermometer marked 102 degrees, the nurse took me seriously. They insisted on doing a blood test. As much as I hate needles, and my own blood, I didn’t care. I felt like I was dying. After a blood test, the doctor took me in a room to tell me I had mono.
Mono? From who?
He told me I needed to rest, but they would give me a shot and some medicine to take home. Eddie and I were planning on leaving for Indiana that afternoon. When I left the doctor’s office, I drove to his house and threw my bags in his car. We hit the road.
“Umm yeah, so the doctor told me I have mono,” I said.
“Really? All of my girlfriends get that!”
I didn’t know mono was a lifelong contagious illness. But I was feeling better on my medicine, and Eddie promised to drive us the entire way.